SCOTTISH FILM SPECIAL
ACI I HOUSE
If Trainspotting kicked the butt of Scottish film, the Irvine Welsh-scripted Acid House Trilogy could leave it unable to sit down for decades. We go on location as the final instalment IS completed. Words: Fiona Shepherd
12 THELIST 30 May—l2 Jun 199/
SO MUCH FOR the Star Wars Special Editions. Scotland will shortly have its own radge trilogy in which space cadets have a square go with the negative forces of society, encountering weird life forms (bluebottles. animatronic babies) in the course of their journey towards self-realisation.
The Irvine Welsltscripted Acid House Trilogv is nearing completion. The Granton Star Cause has already received an airing at the Edinburgh Film Festival. A Soft Touch. starring Kevin McKidd and Gary McCormack, is in the bag and his Trainspotting co-star
Ewen Bremner is rounding off his portrayal of
Coco in The Acid House itself. which also stars Martin Clunes and lemma Redgrave. (Remember the plot‘.’ Lightning strikes and an adult male and about-to-be-born baby swap psyches in one of the original collection’s freakiest stories.)
In a tacky pub on Glasgow‘s Broomielaw. the crew are zipping through a scene in which the baby. now nine months old. is taken by its mother to watch a televised football match. Real-life Hibs supporters have been bused through as extras. because they alreadyknow the terrace songs. Elsewhere in the city the Scottish Cup Final is about to take place. but in this insalubrious sector. it's a sea of green shirts with an android child in the midst of it.
"l‘hat's hard to work with.‘ says director Paul McGuigan. in reference to the rather evil- looking baby. ‘but apart from that it's going well. I hate that word “surreal”. but I suppose that‘s what this is. a bit off-the-wall.’
McGuigan and producers Alex L'sborne and David Muir are delighted with Welsh's scripts. which are generally faithful to the original tales. "l‘he stories are very complex so they've all needed streamlining to make them work as films. but when you have something that is timeless and classic. you
‘To say that the Scottish film industry is this big, bohemian thing, and we’re all hanging out with each other having glasses of red wine and listening to some good street poetry is bollocks.’ Paul McGuigan
don’t have to worry about what’s around it.‘ says Usborne, an English producer who is highly complimentary of his crew and filmmaking in Scotland in general. ‘There’s a real confidence about storytelling.‘ he says.
Paradoxically McGuigan, a Scot. doesn‘t buy into the mutual back-slapping atmosphere. ‘lt‘s exciting to be working anywhere.’ he says. ‘I don‘t see this industry that’s confined to up here. To say that the Scottish film industry is this big. bohemian thing. and we‘re all hanging out with each other in Scotland, having glasses of red wine and listening to some good street poetry is bollocks. There’s no camaraderie up in Scotland at all. certainly not when you get up to the higher echelons. There's no camaraderie in the film business, period. Saying that. I don‘t get involved in the film industry.’
McGuigan has moved from photography to music promos and ad campaigns to Channel 4 documentaries including Walk On The Wild Side and Football, Faith And Flutes about the litt- gering sectarian ele- ments in Scottish footie. After direct- ing The (Iranton Star Cause. he was asked to complete the trilogy, which he thinks will continue the trend towards irreverence in films pro- duced in Scotland.
"l'he great thing that's happened over the last couple of years is that Scotland’s got out of that twee filmmaking about fields and landscapes and quaint themes. or else it’s got to be about death and sorrow. I don‘t think since Bill Forsyth there has been this many films that you can have a laugh about. People are realising you don't have to be serious to make a good piece of work.‘
No. you just need the Force to be with you.
The Acid House Trilogy is due to be released by the end of the year.
Acid test: Ewen Bremner and Arlene Cockburn